“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get!” - Forrest Gump, the running man (no, not the dance), truly said it best. 

Moving forward post-COVID-19 is an opportunity for all of us, a chance to pursue and create our better selves. Right now it’s hard to imagine what a normal world even looks like with the sci-fi-like 2-meter person-person gaps and the bread-less supermarket shelves. 

As we’ve seen in the past few weeks, we truly don’t know what we’re “gonna get" in life. However, there are certain pieces of chocolate in our chocolate box that we can have a greater impact on, which significantly affect our future.

It’s time to open up your box of Favourites (yes, secret Santa has come early this year). Take a look inside and take hold of two of the most important pieces of chocolate in the box, Health and Time. 

In Canadian Author and Clinical Psychiatrist Jordan Peterson’s book, “The 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos," ”Rule 2" is “Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.” This is a rule you should all apply when taking hold of these two pieces of chocolate. 

Crunchie Bar - Time

It's crunch time (sorry, I couldn't resist). For the last month, many of us have been quite stuck on what to do with ourselves in our free time, especially for those of us out of work with more free time than we’ve had in years. This has caused some of us to be unproductive, rather than taking advantage of this time to learn new skills and new knowledge. Too much free time can seem like a burden, a curse, rather than the opportunity that it truly is. 

Try something new!

You could begin learning a new language (don’t worry there's 7,117 of them to choose from!), you could learn to juggle through the power of YouTube and those 3 old tennis balls in your garage. You could even learn to say the alphabet backward (a party trick guaranteed to make you popular).

I've used the extra time for some reflection, while also dabbling with some new hobbies. I also picked up the guitar again and it’s been great! (although the rest of my household may disagree).

Make a plan!

In the short term take simple steps to keep your days and weeks productive. Set daily goals, listing time-frames when you'll complete them; prioritising the must do’s, and crossing each goal off as you complete them. Doing this, along with ending your day by reflecting on your gratitudes, will keep you in a positive mindset, with the result of a far more productive you. In times like these, it is important to focus on ensuring those around you are keeping productive, and if you’re following “Rule 2” then you’ll ensure the same for yourself,  which is important for both your mental health and the mental health of your bubble. 

Mars Bar - Health

The last month has been a huge eye-opener for health systems across the globe, many of whom weren't prepared for a health crisis of this scale. As we’ve seen, many of the most unhealthy countries in the world are the ones being affected the worst. 

My hope is that whether you’re an elite Iron Man athlete or a couch potato with a fancy for the latest Netflix binge-watch, this has been a wake-up call for you too, to address your health, and look at your own body like you’re the CEO of your health. You are a Pharaoh continuously building the architecture of your pyramid of health, a life-long project that doesn’t end until you do.

Homemade delight!

Over the last month, you’ve been forced to make homemade meals (whether you like it or not) while before you may have relied on takeaways for a meal or two a week. I’m sure now that takeaways are open for business, many of you will be galloping towards your desired food of choice. Don’t forget "Rule 2" though, you wouldn’t feed your precious husky a 2am drive through Maccas burger, so why yourself? 

Hopefully, this has been a time for you to build and develop healthier eating habits if you lacked them before, and to appreciate your very own Jamie Olive- like Master Chef abilities (or maybe it was more of a Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen experience). From my own experience, I’m proud to have not set the kitchen on fire, and after hours of vigorous scraping, I was able to clean the pan after a failed attempt at vegetarian patties that took the words “crumbled” a little too seriously.

Taking charge of our health

Moving forward, we should all begin reflecting on our own health choices and take steps towards healthier lives. Fill your body with fresh fruits and veggies, and exercise more regularly, even in these times when you may need to get a little bit more creative. 

Takeaway message (no, not actual takeaways!) 

Time and health are two of the most important pieces of chocolate in our chocolate box. They go hand in hand in the sense that if we’re healthier we will have more energy and therefore, be able to utilise our time more efficiently.